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An international crisis hits home: Jiggs McDonald trapped in Thailand

November 28, 2008 |  3:56 pm

Jiggs_300Events that happen halfway around the world sometimes seem difficult to relate to, until you discover they've affected someone you know.

Jiggs McDonald (pictured at left), the original voice of the Kings and later the voice of the Atlanta Flames, New York Islanders and Florida Panthers, is stranded in Thailand by the political unrest that has closed that country's airport the last few days. His daughter, Susan DeSimone, is trying to raise awareness in the media, especially in his Canadian homeland, in hopes of helping her parents return safely.

McDonald, who turned 70 on Friday, was visiting the country with a tour group when  political protesters closed the Bangkok airport and made it impossible for him to leave. DeSimone has posted updates on her dad's Facebook page.

She said that she had spoken to him Thursday night and that her parents are safely lodged in a Bangkok hotel.

"They are quite simply stuck," she said via e-mail. "The alternative means out of the country are probably better for small groups and younger people (adventurous backpacker types).

"What worries me most is that the situation in Thailand is not getting as much attention as the protesters had probably hoped for (because of Mumbai) and it's also not looking like it's going to resolve itself quickly or peacefully.  Meanwhile there are 80+ senior citizens (don't tell my Dad I called him that) sitting in a hotel in Bangkok after an exhausting 30-day trip, wondering how and when they'll get home -- and whether it will be safely."

-- Helene Elliott

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images